Pittsburgh Marathon Day; Tjuan Benefactor Plays South Side Marathon Stage (Sun., 5/7/17)

1) You don’t need to be a runner to enjoy all the festivities of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon this weekend. The fun starts bright and early at 7 a.m. for the full, half, and relay marathon runners. As a spectator, though, you get your choice of entertainment, depending on where you decide to park yourself on the course. Many musicians will be projecting their pipes along the route to keep spirits high, and every neighborhood that the races passes through offers some great acts. You can check out a map of the course here, then pick your favorite spot to cheer on the runners—whether it’s in South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, Bloomfield, or elsewhere. 7 a.m. Downtown and surrounding communities.

2) Tjuan Benafactor (Antjuan Wasington) is a great example of a local guy achieving success. Benafactor grew up in the Hill District, graduating from Oliver High School, and attended college in West Virginia. Upon graduation, he worked as an event promoter, even assisting Pittsburgh hip-hop legend, the late Dwayne Muhammad, and his company 360 Entertainment, on his Hip Hop Awards. After transitioning to rap artist, Benafactor was nominated for several of said awards. He has toured the U.S., bringing his brand of lively, rapid-fire, positive rap to a wider audience. Many of his rap tracks have hot, block rockn’ beats and are also very melodic. Although he is based out of Pittsburgh, concert appearances here have been rare in the last several years. One reason is that Benafactor owned the Pittsburgh ABA basketball team: The Steel City Yellow Jackets. Having recently sold the team, his schedule still hasn’t eased up as he is also CEO of the ABA’s Media & Entertainment Division. Benafactor oversees broadcast deals, sponsorships, merchandising, game day entertainment, and more. Additionally, he owns the Twin City Jazz, West Virginia Warlocks, Brooklyn Skyrockets, and LA Palms of the ABA.

This March, Benafactor’s song “First Class” featuring Sammie reached  no. 1 on the SpinReports.com (BDS) Hip Hop/R&B Top 40 Charts and was a no. 1 requested song on several major radio stations. “Love & Hip Hop” has been getting heavy rotation as well. He is currently signed to his own label, Arucca Flyboy, and distributed by Amada Records/Capitol Music Group. Catch him as part of the Pittsburgh Marathon‘s South Side celebrations right outside Mario’s. He will be performing three sets (8, 9, and 11 a.m.). Also on the bill are Pittsburgh musical acts Stretchy Guwop, Yung Fly Gang (YFG), Bonez Da Loc, Queen D.VA, Seymour Banks, and Beverly Bowie Taylor. Several Steel City Yellow Jacket players will be on hand, signing autographs, and doing giveaways (8-11 a.m.). Festivities start at 7 a.m. and continue until noon. 1514 E. Carson St.

Cathy Schenkelberg in "Squeeze My Cans": was she blinded by the light?

Schenkelberg in “Squeeze My Cans”: was she blinded by the light? photo: Heather Mull.

3) A number of A-list actors have joined the Church of Scientology. Cathy Schenkelberg was never a household name, although for years she worked as a top-tier voiceover talent in TV and radio ads. And now, after leaving the Church, she’s done something that noted Scientologists such as John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Kirstie Alley have not: she has produced a one-person show about the experience. Schenkelberg’s Squeeze My Cans traces her adventures and misadventures with Scientology from the time of her youthful entry through her decision to leave, 14 years later, in 2009. Squeeze My Cans—performed, of course, by Schenkelberg herself—has been a sensation at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and Chicago’s Greenhouse Theatre Center. The show is described as wildly humorous but shocking. While it certainly is not a promotional piece for the Church, it’s also been praised for taking a straightforward, matter-of-fact approach to a controversial subject. Pittsburgh’s 12 Peers Theater has scored a coup by bringing Schenkelberg and Squeeze My Cans to town for a limited touring run. 2 p.m. Performances through May 7. In the Studio Theatre at the Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. (MV)

4) Our battlin’ Buccos take the diamond again today against the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s also Kids Day, with a Family Fun Zone outside the ball yard beforehand, and all fans 14 and under receiving a kids jump rope and a chance to run the bases after the game. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. Next up for the Pirates is a western road trip against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. PNC Park, 115 Federal St., North Shore.

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Rick Handler

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